ERICK RUDOLPH WINS THIRD GAMBLER’S CLASSIC IN ATLANTIC CITY’S BOARDWALK HALL, RYAN FLORES IS INDOOR AUTO RACING SERIES CHAMPION
Story By: ERNIE SAXTON / SAMMONS MOTORSPORTS MEDIA
Photos By: PETE MACDONALD / RACERSGUIDE.COM
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ -January 29, 2017 . . . Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., staved off a furious last lap challenge off the final turn by Zane Zeiner of Bath, Pa., and won the NAPA Know How Racing Weekend Three Quarter (TQ) Midget Gambler’s Classic 40-lap feature by a razor thin margin inside historic Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night.
“I wasn’t sure about it, to be honest,” said Rudolph of the outcome. “I knew it was very close.
The actual margin of victory, .012 seconds, was the closest margin for a race winner in the history of the Indoor Auto Racing Series.
“He (Rudolph) made one little mistake there at the end and I was right there,” Zeiner said. “Someday soon, I am going to win one of these things.”
Matt Janisch was a close third, Jimmy Blewett fourth and Mike Lichty, who was making his first Indoor Auto Racing Series start of the season, completed the top spots.
Scott Kreutter, Jon Reid, Andrew Nye, Brandon Azzalina and Ryan Flores completed the top ten.
The tenth place result was enough for Flores to win his first Indoor Auto Racing Series points championship.
“The point title is what we worked hard for all year,” Flores said. “I would like to have done better in this race but winning the title was the goal and we achieved it.”
Gary Hieber started up front and finished there to win the 25-lap Slingshot feature. Hieber outran Danny Buccafusca for the race win but in finishing second, Buccafusca won the Slingshot Indoor Auto Racing Series points championship. Seth Spayd, Cody Kline and Kyle Herve completed the top five. Kurt Bettler entered the weekend as a contender for the Slingshot title but spun out late in the race and finished 19th.
Cale Ross backed up his Indoor Auto Racing Series Champ Kart race win at Trenton in December with a win in Saturday’s Champ Kart feature. Ross held off Eric Zeh and Todd Crenchaw to secure the race win and by crossing the line first, also won the Indoor Auto Racing Series Champ Kart points championship. Ryan Swartz and Ryan Kendall ere the remainder of the top five. Perennial favorite Chris Daley was involved in two separate crashes during the race and finished twenty-first.
In preliminary TQ Midget racing action Saturday night, Flores, Blewett, Andy Jankowiak, Lichty, Reid and Azzalina each won heat races. B-Main TQ Qualifiers were won by Andrew Krause, Andrew Nye and Timmy Catalano. The five lap TQ Midget Dash which set starting positions for the first nine was won by Rudolph.
In Saturday afternoon preliminary action, Scott Kreutter won the Last Chance Qualifier for TQ Midgets, Dylan Hoch and Joe Toth the pair of Slingshot qualifiers, and Todd Crenchaw and Joey Bruning the pair of B Mains for Champ Karts.
Len Sammons Motorsports Productions and the Indoor Auto Racing Series announced dates for the 2018 Gambler’s Classic. The 16th running of the race is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, January 26-27, 2018.
Gambler’s Classic TQ Midget Feature (40 Laps): 1. Erick Rudolph, 2. Zane Zeiner, 3. Matt Janisch, 4. Jimmy Blewett, 5. Mike Lichty, 6. Scott Kreutter, 7. Jon Reid, 8. Andrew Nye, 9. Brandon Azzalina, 10. Ryan Flores, 11. Ryan Preece, 12. Rob Neely, 13. Mike Maresca, 14. Justin Bonsignore, 15. Mike Iles, 16. Tim Buckwalter, 17. Mike Tidaback, 18. Andy Jankowiak, 19. Anthony Sesely, 20. Ted Christopher, 21. Ronnie Mullen, 22. Brett Michalski, 23. Timmy Catalano, 24. Earl Paules, 25. Ryan Tidman, 26. Andrew Krause.
Slingshot Feature (25 Laps): 1. Gary Hieber, 2. Danny Buccafusca, 3. Seth Spayd, 4. Cody Kline, 5. Kyle Herve, 6. Billy Vaninwegen, 7. Joe Toth, 8. Dan Spellmon, 9. Damon Paul, 10. Steve Svanda, 11. Mike Toth, 12. Nick Del Campo, 13. Brett Bieber, 14. Mike Lapicki, 15. Chris Gall., 16. Nick Shaw, 17. Matt Langbein, 18. Anthony Raisner, 19. Kurt Bettler, 20. Vern McLaughlin III, 21. Matt Massone, 22. Dylan Hoch, 23. Cole Hentschel, 24. Eddie Strada.
Champ Kart Feature (25 Laps): 1. Cale Ross, 2. Eric Zeh, 3. Todd Crenchaw, 4. Ryan Swartz, 5. Ryan Kendall, 6. Jonathan Laureigh, 7. Mike Perry, 8. TJ Reed, 9. Doughas Goetz Jr., 10. Tim Gregory, 11. Stephen Beattie, 12. Pat Yountz, 13. Jeremiah Wagner, 14. Jon Pepe, 15. Tyler Thompson, 16. Dalton Rivira, 17. Richie Spaide, 18. Cole Neibert, 19. Ron Midford, 20. JJ Pacovich, 21. Chris Daley, 22. Zach Myers, 23. Joey Bruning, 24. Jon Cash.